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Inuit, Inuk (Linguistic recommendation from the Translation Bureau)

Warning

The same content is available in French in the article Inuit/Inuk (Recommandation linguistique du Bureau de la traduction).

To standardize the use of Inuit and Inuk in the federal public service, the Translation Bureau makes the following recommendation.

Inuit and Inuk in English

Singular noun

Inuk is the singular noun. It is always capitalized:

  • the first Inuk to play in the NHL

Plural noun

Inuit is the plural noun. It is always capitalized:

  • Inuit enjoy the arrival of spring. (not Inuits enjoy)

Because Inuit means “the people,” do not use the or people with Inuit:

  • Inuit use traditional hunting methods. (not The Inuit or The Inuit people)

Adjective

Inuit is the adjective. It is always capitalized:

  • Storytelling is an Inuit tradition.

Inuit in French

Singular noun

Inuit is the masculine noun. It is always capitalized:

  • Un Inuit du Nord canadien

Inuite is the feminine noun. It is always capitalized:

  • L’œuvre d’une Inuite

Note: Inuk is no longer used in French.

Plural noun

Inuit and Inuite both take an “s” in the plural form. They are always capitalized:

  • les Inuits qui vivent au nord du 60e parallèle
  • les Inuites et les autres femmes autochtones

Adjective

The adjective inuit agrees in both gender and number with the noun it modifies. It is never capitalized:

  • la culture inuite
  • des chanteuses inuites
  • des artistes inuits

Additional information

See the article Inuit, un mot qui ne fait plus exception by Denise Cyr and Fanny Vittecoq in Language Update 5, no. 2 (2008): 9. (Reprinted in Chroniques de langue; available only in French)

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